Papa Grymm once told me, “Son, if you want to succeed, you may have to repeat your actions until you get it right. And I’m not kidding you, clean your damn room!” And there is a lot of truth to those words. As someone who spent a good portion of his youth playing keyboard, bass, and guitar, I must have had the phrase “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” drilled into my head by every music teacher imaginable. Everybody practices chords and scales repeatedly, right? Riffs? Solos? You have to in order to succeed in anything. Well, how about songs? Japan’s newest export in industrialized noise metal, Legion of Andromeda, have set out to challenge your notions of what noise and repetition can create via their debut, Iron Scorn.
I’ve been listening to this album every day for the last week and a half, and I can only make two comparisons. The first, on a musical level, is Godflesh. Opener “Transuranic Ejaculation” (love those!) comes out of the gate with R’s guttural and heavily distorted growls and guitarist/drum programmer M’s simple but thick guitar riffs. The biggest thing you’ll notice is the drum machine, which is set to TING-tada-tada-tada/TING-tada-tada-tada/TING-tada-tada-tada/TING-tada-tada-tada…
And this is where the second comparison comes into play. Have you ever seen Bill Murray’s 1993 classic, Groundhog Day? If you haven’t, just know that Murray played a weatherman who gets stuck in a time loop in Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, reliving Groundhog Day almost infinitely. You know that drum pattern I described in the last paragraph? I hope you love it, because it’s the same exact thing at the same exact tempo throughout the album, save for “Scourge of Pestilence” and “Aim at the Starless Sky,” which are half-speed. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the guitar riffs and vocals were somewhat captivating. Sadly, I kept nodding off on repeated listens. “Overlord of Thunder” does have some interesting guitar play with roaring elephant riffs, and “Fist of Hammurabi” borrows the infamous riff from Danzig‘s awesome “Her Black Wings” and repeats it ad nauseum. Otherwise, nothing pummeled me like it should.
The Steve Albini production adds a bit of his trademark analog warmth to Iron Scorn, especially where the guitars are concerned. As this was geared for punishment and punishment alone, the guitars take a back seat to the vocals and programmed drums, which are as in-your-face as it gets. As for feeling bludgeoned, I didn’t feel that way. That’s not to say that this record wouldn’t be perfect for annoying others, though. This is the perfect soundtrack to harass your neighbors down the hall because they’re having way better sex than you are at the moment, and you want to congratulate them with this album at full blast. This is also the album your tattoo artist will be playing for you on repeat because you wanted that oh-so-original tattoo of a black feather breaking off into a murder of crows, only to find out that it’s the eighth one said artist has done this calendar week alone, and it’s only fucking Tuesday. Yes, kids, this is that album.
It takes a lot of guts to buck convention and really mess heads up. Iron Scorn, to me at least, gave it a good go, but they really need to craft better riffs if they’re going to use a singular drum pattern. I can’t recommend this album for your own bludgeoning. For bludgeoning others, however, consider this a gift from Punxsutawney Phil to you. Just don’t get that stupid-ass feather tattoo.
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Labels: At War With False Noise (EU) | Unholy Anarchy (US)
Websites: facebook.com/LegionofAndromeda | Legionofandromeda.bandcamp.com
Release Date: Out Worldwide 02.20.2015